Bingham thought he had found the Vitcos of Manco
Inca in Machu Picchu; this was a mistaken assumption,
because ancient chronicles which he had not read give the exact
location of this city.
Other references on the monumental area mentioned, before Bingham, may be found in the Historical Archives of the Unversity of Cusco, in documents on the surrounding properties, boundaries and dominion of the Cutija hacienda, at the head of Valle de la Convención, or in documents giving the physical limits of the province of Urubamba.
Since then, Agustin Lizárraga's widow, and his descendants to date
have questioned Bingham's report, because they claim their peasant
ancestor, a daring young man, found Machu Picchu during his explorations in search of fertile farmland in 1900, and
he had already settled in the area before Bingham arrived on the
In 1912, tenant farmers of this land were Mr. Arteaga and Mr. Lizarraga, the Bingham's guide in 1911.
It is said that Lizarraga reached the lost city by using the San Miguel road that divides the "Plaza Santa" ("Holy Plaza"), and that on his successive visits, he and his companions found some objects such as niches, ceramic artifacts, and others of gold and silver, which they sold to a rich and well-known tradesman in Cusco.
This account seems to be true, because of the charcoal remains of campfires found by Bingham in the ruins. He writes in his account of the discovery: "We know that Lizarraga had carried out treasure-hunting expeditions in this area ten years before our visit...".
It is possible that, aside from Lizarraga, no other peasant had been able to profane the site, because Andean society has a deeply rooted tradition of respect and reverence for the huacas (tombs), let alone, a deep-seated cultural fear of the consequences of profaning their ancestors' tombs, with possible results of ill-luck, sicknesses and death.
Lizarraga died in singular circumstances in 1912. He left some treasures for his widow that she donated to Santa Clara Convent in Cusco when she took up the catholic faith.